Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Recognizing Beauty (an artist's perspective)

I wrote a poem  a few weeks ago.  This one is for those of you who see just a little more than your friends.  Okay, a lot more.

Alone, Recognizing Beauty

I saw beauty today.
It gave me pause.
Catching my breath
     for a moment
     I was transported
to a place of
    meandering streams, a cold rising sun,
    golden steam rising, lifting,
    to touch and mingle with...

Why didn't you look?
Eyes straight ahead expression closed neck stiff and unbending
Your world already
    laid out and planned.
No room for beauty.

Why is it that I can 
    reach out and touch
    breathe deeply the fragrance
    stretch -
    see the colors
    feel the wet
    taste the world
experience beauty, and dance on the dewy grass

When others build walls
Close themselves off
Surrounded in their comfortable pre-determined safety,
    and maintain their steady plodding course?

Cindy Johnson, December, 2012

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dr. Who's Van Gogh

Well, since I painted the TARDIS, I've had a lot of conversations with Dr. Who fans (and belatedly decided that I probably should actually WATCH one!)

My husband, Gary told me that I should watch the one in which they met Vincent Van Gogh, so I asked them to pull it up for me.  Okay, I admit it - I enjoyed it!

At the very end of the show, Dr. Who, his friend and Van Gogh were laying in a field, heads together and holding hands, looking up at the sky.  Van Gogh was describing what he saw in that night sky - the glorious colors, the movement, the song - and it brought tears to my eyes.

Afterwards, I told Gary that this is how I see things.  Often, when with family or friends, I'll see something and begin describing the beauty I see.  The colors, the shapes, planes, angles, the light... Most times, those around me will go 'um hmmm..' and give that particular beauty a glancing look.

All this to say - if any of you lives with an artist, watch that Dr. Who, and it'll take you one step closer to understanding her.

Here's the link:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ginger in a Watkins Bottle

This painting turned out to be a lot of fun to produce.

On a background of orange, pink and yellow, I drew in my most recent bouquet - a couple almost insignificant ginger flowers in an old Watkins bottle.  I think the simplicity of the subject lends itself to the charm.

Because it was so simple, I decided to draw it really loosely, not paying too much attention to correct proportions.  For me, at least, it makes for a painting that's just plain fun.

Working a lot with my fingers - actually, now that I think of it, I worked ONLY with my fingers, I laid in the turquoise, green and blues.  Quite a bit of blue was worked over the pinks to make the foliage  more interesting.  The juxtaposition of the cool and warm colors playing against each other just makes me happy, and I was sure to sometimes miss the ginger flowers when I added the yellow.  My theory is that it makes for much more interesting work that keeps people both guessing and looking.

And, as a salute to Renoir and his imaginative painting-naming, I think I'll call this painting - 'Ginger in a Watkins Bottle.'  :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hawaiian Masks

I recently finished my Hawaiian Masks for my son.  We enjoyed Hawaii this summer and our oldest particularly liked the wooden, carved masks.  I thought... "I could paint those..."

So... I did!  This painting is for Chase.

I began with an entire background of warm colors - reds, oranges and yellows, runny and fluid.

After drying, I went in with the cool colors - greens, blues, and turquoises.  Much of the painting I worked with my fingers, because I wanted to give a part of myself to my son.  I really like how the warm colors glow through the cool colors in the background. If you enlarge this, you can look closely and find my fingerprints.  I guess that means if I'm kidnapped or perform some crime, the fingerprint painting will lead them on back to me, huh?

Once finished with the cool colors, I went back in with some bright reds and heightened the warm colors to make a really bold statement.  All in all, I like it!  I'm glad I don't have to sell this one.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Tardis finished (mostly!)

Okay - finally finished!  Took it outside to give it a coat of varnish, and to paint the back side.  The back would only accept one coat of paint, so I'll have to go back.  Even when it's finished it's not finished!

We had a photo shoot of four of us for the paper from the Art League with our doors.  Goodness, I haven't had so many pictures taken of me since our wedding, and probably not that many then! 

They wanted pictures of me painting my door.  Mixing paint.  Holding my brush.  Standing by the door.  Smiling.  Thinking.  Serious.  Holding my brush as if to paint, but not painting.  My door without me...

Each of the artists underwent the same thing - then they wanted us together.  With our doors.  With brushes.  Without.  Smiling... goofing off... 'painting' each other.

The doors will be displayed all over Montgomery County in quite a number of places, a few here and there.  The kickoff for the entire event will be at the end of January.  Then at the Gala, all our doors will be auctioned off.  I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dr. Who's Tardis Continued

I thought The Tardis was the perfect choice for this year’s theme.  Having two Dr. Who fans in my home, I’ve discovered how serious Dr. Who fans are!  ‘The Tardis’ is the booth Dr. Who steps into so he can travel through time.  I began the piece with two base coats of what I’m now calling ‘Tardis Blue.’  After that, the lion’s share of time was spent working out the mathematical dimensions.  Once that was worked out, I began laying things out, using a charcoal plumb line, then taping them.  Yes, indeed, straight lines are the most difficult thing for me to paint! Shadows and highlights, weathering, then the windows and beacon were next.  The final touch was the iridescents streaming from the beacon and windows.  This piece was painted with a combination of acrylic, matt medium, latex and iridescent acrylics, and finished with a coat of varnish.

Student's Metal Work

Here's a metal piece one of my students did.  I think it's darling.  I've posted two photos because neither is really true to what it looks like.  Actually, hers is somewhere in between; imagine the best of both photos put together!

 The warm copper is glowing through her under layer of blue and the top layer of  red-violet, making is a really adorable piece.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This is some great graffiti my daughter and I found downtown.  I wish I could claim it!  We found it on a rather windy day, as you can see.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dr. Who's The Tardis - Donation for Habitat for Humanity

 Well, here's the second stage of my The Tardis door.  First stage was two coats of what I'm calling Tardis blue.

After that, I had to lay out all the lines.  Actually, I had to figure out the dimensions.  The door was 80 x 29 1/2.  Four vertical panels at 13", three spaces between them at 3", a 4" bottom, and the top section...

Let's put it this way:  Artists - pay attention in math class!  It took a lot of figuring before I did ANYTHING to the door!

Once I had my plans clearly laid out, checked three times and laid out plainly, I got out my string and charcoal to lay the lines.  After measuring the dimensions on each edge, I 'charcoaled' the string and had a friend help me.  I used it like a chalk line, which I don't own, so made my own!

Once the laborious task of figuring out all the measurements was finished, my next step was to tape everything off.  Yes, the hardest thing to paint is a straight line!  I could have had a masterpiece painted freehand by the time I got all these lines laid out!

This picture shows me pulling the tape off after painting some of the lines and shadows.

Here's what the door looks like so far, before the tape got pulled off.

And here I am, tape in hand, with my lovely door.  Okay, second stage done.  I had to run to the copy shop to use their ink jet printer to copy off the notice that the police put up.  This type of ink doesn't run when wet.  An acrylic gel medium attached it nicely.

Third step will be to (figure out the dimensions) lay out the top design, and then I'll get to do the fun part, adding the minor nuances to make it look like the actual Tardis.  I'll keep ya posted. :)

Forgot to tell you - I volunteered to paint this for Habitat for Humanity.  They have a gala and auction off doors painted by artists to raise funds for their cause.  I'm figuring that most of the people in the audience won't know what The Tardis is, or what in the world Dr. Who is, but the rabid few that DO know will really want this. :)  We'll see...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Studio (dis-) Organization

This is a corner of my studio.  And yes, I know exactly where everything is!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A couple posts ago I showed you a partially finished collage on wood.  Here's the finished piece.
It took considerably longer than I expected it would take, but it was pleasant, relaxing work.  I listened to a book on tape and went to it.

Marilyn Monroe - SOLD

Here's the painting I just sold.  Because Marilyn Monroe is such a colorful, larger-than-life person, I chose to depict her with some wild color to describe her personality.  Here's to you, Marilyn!

My camera colors show the mat as being a HORRIBLE color, but it actually matches the dark indigo of the lady herself and looks really nice in person.  Apparently the matting absorbed rather than reflected the light, so, well, there it is!